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Homestays: Five reasons to put up a pro

Well, it’s that time of the year when you’ll most likely be getting bombarded with emails from your local triathlon clubs and races asking if you or someone you know may be willing to host a Pro for a few days around a race. Many people may not know what they are getting themselves into or may feel that what they have to offer ‘isn’t enough’ and subsequently don’t offer anything up but no matter how small, dingy, or uncomfortable you think your room/bed/air mattress/couch may be I can guarantee you that it is more comfortable than sleeping in the back of a car…at the Lake Steven’s rec centre.

Homestays have long been a main stay of triathlon. Growing up in Penticton I was fortunate to have top professionals stay with my parents year after year. I always learned a ton from those athletes about the way that I wanted to conduct myself as an athlete (as well as ways that I didn’t want to conduct myself…no names). Here are some of the reasons why I think it is beneficial to you and your family to host a pro!

See what they do

Hosting a pro is a great opportunity to see how they prepare for competition. Kind of like your own personal version of HBO’s Hard Knocks. You can see what kind of mindset they have as the race approaches, what things are critically important to their race day success, how much they sleep, how nervous or laid back they are, and what they eat and exactly how massive the quantities are (I can tell you that it is in excess of 6000 calories a day but you would probably have to see that to believe it!) You can also see what kind of crazy pre race routines athletes have (like sticking Vaporub up their nose as they get ready in the morning…) The two strangest I saw growing up were athletes chiseling out frozen T-shirts and headbands to wear race morning and two grown men shaving their legs together in the same bath tub.

A free Q&A

Most pros will be a complete open book. They’ll answer every question you can possibly have with honesty. Sometimes a little too much honesty when it comes to peeing on the bike and chamois cream application.

“I know them!”

Triathlon is exponentially more fun to watch when you know someone racing. Who knows, your pro could win! Every pro will appreciate having someone to share in the moment if they have a great race. They will also appreciate not going back to an empty Motel 6 hotel room if they have had a shocker of a race!

Meet awesome people

Professionals in our sport are all hard working and passionate. They are all around awesome people. You might gain a life-long friend or build a relationship where the pro comes back year after year. I know for myself I always look forward to staying Austin with Jack and Kat. If you’re really lucky, your pro might go on to commentate on Ironman Live and give you a little more props than you deserve. Thanks Matt Lieto!

Enable someone’s dreams

Most professionals don’t get into racing to make money (shocking), they do it to chase a dream. It can be a very expensive dream at times and having help with accommodations can be crucial to achieving that dream. It can be the difference between having a massive breakout race or being at home watching it online.

Matt Lieto with Jeff Symonds's mom and former homestay host at Ironman Canada.
Matt Lieto with Jeff Symonds’s mom and former homestay host at Ironman Canada.